The city of Puno is located 3800 metres up in the Peruvian Andes. Due to its altitude, it's quite a cold city. However, the microclimate created by the presence of Lake Titicaca makes it warm up during the day. Nevertheless, it stills gets very chilly at night, which gave me the ideal opportunity to wear my new woollen socks. When I last visited here, we even saw some hail!
With its arts and crafts, its songs and its dances, Puno is considered to be the most culturally traditional city in Peru, The restaurant "Balcones de Puno", for example, puts on high quality dinner shows, providing an ideal opportunity to try some of the local specialities in the city centre, which is a particularly popular place with tourists. There are also several markets to be found there, where you can shop for local arts and crafts, or items made from wool.
The city of Puno is essentially an interesting place to stop off at if you're planning to travel on to Bolivia. The route from Puno to La Paz is particularly delightful. As you travel along it you'll encounter large herds of llamas and flocks of sheep; the views over Lake Titicaca are magnificent; and, providing the backdrop, there are the snow-capped mountains, which extend virtually all the way to La Paz. It's quite simply wow!!
I still have nice enough memories on the whole. Certainly this middle-sized town doesn't offer any major tourist attractions. It is, above all, a stopping point for those preparing to visit the area.
The cathedral on the other hand is very pretty and the town livens up in the evening, when it has a very special atmosphere! Everything is centred around a pedestrian street, where of course there are restaurantes, tourist shops, agencies etc. It's overflowing with sounds and colours, really very pleasant after a day's sightseeing. There are some good restaurants where you can taste the trendy Peruvian cuisine. Once again you will have to choose ...
Legend has it that the first Inca emerged from lake Titicaca, on the orders of the Sun-God. Puno is therefore considered as the birthplace of the Inca civilisation! Its surroundings will thrill fans of history and ancient civilisations.
I went to Puno in 2013 and I stayed there for two nights in order to visit Lake Titicaca. The town itself is nice enough but I don't have any lasting memories of it. I wasn't in fact very taken by the place, which is to say that I didn't find Puno to be of any particular interest. The main reason to go to Puno is Lake Titicaca, without which a trip to this region doesn't offer anything worthwhile. Travellers who have already seen the lake from the Bolivian side could continue on elsewhere.
There is a nice square in the centre of the town and roads full of restaurants and bars to meet the needs of tourists passing through. However, I find the town quite devoid of charm, not to mention that the visit to Lake Titicaca from Puno is quite disappointing. It's hard to avoid the boat tours taking all the tourists to the same place. The lake is really beautiful and very photogenic, but frankly I hated the excursion and the stops on the man-made floating islands. Mostly they tried to sell you souvenirs rather than explain the history of the place. Forget all about authenticity in this place!
I much preferred crossing the Bolivian border and visiting the lake from Copacabana, especially the enjoyable trip to the Isla del Sol.